Araz is 27 years old, married with two children. Araz is raising sheep in Imishli, because mutton is in good demand in this region. He has been in this business for seven years.
Since high school, Araz chose not to study, but to continue the family tradition and to become a shepherd. This is a very profitable business and Araz is doing it together with his father.
Araz sells the mutton in the city market. He raises the sheep and brings them to the central bazaar. He has plans to expand this business, because mutton is in high demand in the market, due to its being used in the traditional meals of Azerbaijani people. His monthly income is 300 AZN.
Araz has already taken three loans from Aqroinvest and he has a good loan history. He is applying for a loan of 1500 AZN. Araz believes with this loan he can buy a dozen sheep and expand his business.
Aqroinvest Credit Union was founded in 2001 by a group of 32 farmers from Imishli. It has since grown to become the largest credit union in Azerbaijan, owned by its more than 5,400 borrowers and boasting a portfolio of nearly US$12 million.
AqroInvest is focused on providing loans to the following groups of people: rural farmers, people living in distant southern villages with little or no access to finance and internally displaced people and refugees, many of whom lost their homes and livelihoods during the violent conflicts in the 1990s.
In May 2011, Aqroinvest started a new project with Kiva proving higher education loans to students. The project gives students the support and financing they need to continue their education and helps pay for tuition fees at various universities in Azerbaijan. Aqroinvest is the first credit union in the country to offer students loans.